Crime & Punishment & Cooperation

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis
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Paul Robinson on Cooperation, ... William MacAskill on Effective...

Are humans instinctively cooperative? Under what circumstances does human cooperation tend to break down? Can we experience cooperation in the absence of sanctions? How much are individuals willing to sacrifice to achieve justice?

This week, Roberts spoke with Paul Robinson, co-author (with Sarah Robinson) of Pirates, Prisoners, and Lepers: Lessons from Life Outside the Law.

In this week's Extra, we'd like to further explore these ideas, and give you an opportunity to let us (and each other!) know your thoughts, Please use the prompts below to continue the conversation. We love to hear from you!

Lady Justice2.jpg 1. Many economists argue that government activities crowd out private ones. How does this week's episode fit in with those arguments?

2. Listen to Arnold Kling's "Three Languages of Politics." What did you hear in this episode with Paul Robinson that reminded you of Kling's way of classifying difference between viewpoints.

3. Which do you believe is more dangerous to the moral credibility of the criminal justice system, the "exclusionary rule" or "testilying?" Why?

4. Do you think the erratic nature of punishment affects people's willingness to respect the law? How might you begin to find evidence for or against such a claim?

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